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Authored by Angelica Wilk

Visiting the Tri-State area is an incredibly popular to spend a summer. Three states make up the region; New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut; and if visiting these areas during the end of summer, or throughout autumn, New York City is the most common destination people flock to.

New Jersey is a destination which also pulls big crowds, made famous by the popular MTV show “Jersey Shore”. With a shoreline which extends 127 miles in Jersey alone, there are an abundance of beaches to visit in the Tri-State area, but what about lakes?

Lakes offer a similar beach experience offering sand and water for play, but can offer a different variety of activities you won’t necessarily find at the beach.

Jersey Shore. Photo CC by

Jersey Shore. Photo CC by Nosha.

Wonderful rewards await those who can venture away from the beach to discover the area’s lakes. Here are some I recommend you visit:

Montauk Lake

Driving to the east end of Long Island, NY, you will enter the town of Montauk. In the center of town, you will arrive at Montauk Lake – 900 acres of water!

This is a great spot for boating and fishing. There are no “Swimming Prohibited” signs, but some people advise against it because of certain waste as you get closer to the marinas. Go at your own risk and be adventurous!

You can rent kayaks and paddleboards at the lake. There has even been mention of wind-surfers taking up the small waves.

A cool tip – as you near the north-eastern part of the lake, you will see the ferries leaving for Rhode Island and Martha’s Vineyard.

Montauk Lake. Photo CC by

Montauk Lake. Photo CC by Doug Kerr.

 Find Hotels & Airbnbs Near Montauk Lake

Lake George

If you’re up for a road trip, rent a car and drive to Lake George in upstate NY. This is a vacationers’ spot for many families who live upstate or in the nearby states. Even NYC locals take the trip to get away from the city.

Lake George is a town in the Adirondack Mountains as well as a lake. Its’ 44 square miles extend so far you can never explore the entire lake, even by boat! It’s nicknamed the Queen of American Lakes.

When visiting Lake George, you can set up camp by the lake or rent an inn on the main town street –  There are more than 6 cruises daily and personal boats you can rent. The beach there has a pretty big size so there is room for the crowds to all have space to themselves.

For more stimulating activities, white water rafting, tubing, and hot-air ballooning is offered at this lake. During the summer there are fireworks every Thursday!


Adirondac on Lake George.  Photo CC by Steve. 

South Mountain Recreation Reservoir

Nestled behind the woods, you would think you’re hours away from civilization. Though in West Orange, New Jersey, you’re only 30 minutes away from Manhattan. You can drive or take the NJ Transit to town and catch a quick cab to the lake area; the only other people you may see are those at the Clubhouse or those who arrived for peace and quiet like yourself.

McLoone’s Boathouse is a great meeting area for food and drinks overlooking the lake, and you don’t have to be a Member to enjoy it. With its’ rather romantic views of the hills and people paddling in swan figure boats, you can gaze out into the distance for long hours.

If you choose to do more than watch the lake, you can join those paddle-boating, canoeing, or find a shallow spot to enter the water with the ducks. After that, there is a zoo and mini golf to fill your day with.

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Watch the ducks. Photo CC by Mattys Flicks.

Dutch Springs

Dutch Springs is in Pennsylvania, which is not officially part of the Tri-State area, but some do consider it to be.

A 50 acre lake located in the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania, Dutch Springs is a great spot to visit for it’s Aqua Park, camping, and scuba diving!

Families and adults partake in the Aqua park activities which include water slides and the best trampoline in the water. Scuba divers set up camp and grill during the day as they enter the waters to swim through sunken buses, helicopters, planes, and other vehicles.

Aqua Park

Aqua Park at Dutch Springs. Photo CC by LeHigh Valley PA.

Not a diver? You can still go for a swim, snorkel or camp out through the night. Picnics and parties acceptable on the land!

Note that lakes across Connecticut are mostly private for residents or limited to strict fishing rules and not open for swimming.

Angelica Wilk is a born and raised Brooklyner. She recently accomplished becoming a Flight Attendant after working as a Social Worker for 7 years. She began traveling out of the country often last year and started up her blog, Brooklyn Chick Travels, to inspire other New Yorkers to venture out as she is.

She loves islands, scuba diving, and food especially. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagramto see where her flying takes her next!


  1. Thanks Megan and let me know if your travels take you up North this way!

    • Thanks Angelica! Will do! Thanks for a great guest post :)

  2. I’ve spent many a summer day in Dutch Springs. When I was living in New York City, we made the trek out to Dutch for our Open Water certification dives. Now, it’s the closest cheap place to log some decent dives. The new swimming area has been a welcome addition!

    • I haven’t yet been able to find the time to do my diving cert but it’s something I desperately want to get done. I might look into Dutch Springs for it in that case! Thanks!!

    • I wish I got to go more often, it really is cheap isn’t it!

  3. I’ll be in New Jersey and New York in December so even though it might be a bit colder than I’d like, I’d still love to visit these places! I love lakes!

    • You can always opt for a walk around the lake instead of actually jumping in – I love walking lakes in the autumn/winter time. Kind of magical!

  4. I usually visit this area late autumn, winter and spring, so i guess I will never get to see those lakes!

    • Though I’m sure it would be pretty magical in winter – not sure if it would be iced over but the snow in NY over winter is always so gorgeous!

  5. I think all seasons of the year would provide great scenery and atmosphere at the lakeside! My favourite time though would be the fall :)

    • I agree – I LOVE the fall – always brings out such amazing colours!

  6. Great article, Megan!!! Those lakes look very cool to swim in!

    • Just maybe stick to swimming during the summer months :D

  7. sounds like a great visit any time of year, although being from Canada and knowing that NY area gets the same fall colours we do- autumn would be gorgeous!

    • True! Autumn tens to bring about stunning colors!

  8. Great list of lake getaways! Right now is definitely a good time of the year to go do this! Thanks for sharing this!

    • Thanks Mary! So glad you enjoyed the piece. Right now would be the perfect time of year to go – just coming out of summer but not yet too cold!

  9. Hi Anjelica,

    Being a NJ guy I must say you’ve hit on the best lakes in the region. I’ve been to South Mountain a few times.

    Even more amazing than being close to NYC this area is 5 to 10 minutes away from an EXTREMELY tough, rough area of Newark.

    Now, no worries; folks don’t journey over to South Mountain from these rough spots, or at least the .02 percent of folks who are criminals, don’t.

    It’s just that the contrast is amazing, which makes NJ such an interesting part of the world. I mean I’m here in Savusavu, Fiji now, and even though you’ll find no more beautiful an area, NJ is stunning in its own right due to its topography.

    Beautiful lakes, gritty, tough, inner cities, $30 million dollar estates in Somerset and Morris and Bergen counties, dairy farms in south NJ and the Pine Barrens.

    From the deep woods to the hood, NJ has it all, and you can drive from top to bottom in 3 and a half hours.

    That’s diversity.

    Thanks much guys.

    Tweeting soon.


    • Thanks Ryan! I had no idea just how diverse NJ was. I had always just kind of figured all there was to it was the “Jersey Shore” – one of those moments I guess where I’ve sadly let TV stereotypes rule my impression of a place.

      The next time I get up to the NY area I’ll have to plan for some time in NJ; sounds like I’m missing out from never having been there!!

      Hope you’re enjoying Fiji!

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